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Why I attended the Nuts and Bolts Workshop after 25 years as a planner

By: Robert Franklin

“Why did you attend a nuts and bolts planning workshop?” asked my recently retired very good friend Scott Hess. Scott and I go way back. We started at Huntington Beach in the same year and even though we are polar opposites, over the years we did some very good work together. Scott stayed at Huntington Beach and reached the top spot. I went to Fountain Valley and gained new experience. So I explained to Scott that I was investigating a PhD program at UCI and I checked out the Urban and Regional Planning Graduate Program and saw the announcement for the workshop. I retired from Fountain Valley 10 years ago and I thought the workshop would be a great opportunity to see what is going on with the graduate program and with the Orange Section.

I must say the workshop was excellent. The organizers and panelists were right on. We started out asking the question “what do planners do?”. We went around the room and the answers were very diverse. I was very impressed with the comments from students and also how the moderator handled the comments. I can see she has done many a public meeting.

We then moved on to basic planning principles and Steve Radcliffe from the City of Westminster did an excellent job of covering the basic aspects of city planning. After Steve’s presentation, we broke into small groups and analyzed site plans, design review, and such. I had a great time. I mentioned to Steve after the workshop that if I had the caliber of planners participating in the workshop working for me back in the day, my life would of been so much easier. Everyone was very good and very knowledgeable.

Just before we wrapped up the workshop, I had the opportunity to speak to a recent graduate about finding a job. I told her it is very important to do an internship and build your resume. I told her I always managed the interns and I tried to share why we and how we compiled with the General Plan and what we were trying to accomplish. I also told her I always shared my knowledge of interview techniques and interview questions. I would do everything I could to prepare interns for job interviews by sharing how to answer interview questions and how to impress the interview panel.

So even though I have over 25 years in the planning field, I learned a lot! I think the APA Orange Section Nuts and Bolts Workshop should be a prerequisite for anyone thinking about going into the planning field. Well done to everyone. I was was so impressed I rejoined APA and I plan on taking the test for AICP! It’s about time don’t you think?  

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